Nearly a month into lockdown and social distancing – my family life is beginning to pivot around some slightly different routines and practices. The standard 8pm – lights out – NETFLIX on, cuddle with the hubby on the sofa – has begun to look more like – watching more kid friendly programs in the evening, before reading a story and lights out by 9pm.
Because the lines are blurred between weekend and week days – and because a global pandemic is… well a first for all of us… we went into this expecting it not to last very long and therefore allowed holiday privileges and for our own needs to take a backseat for some time.
A couple of days ago – it became clear to us both that this new routine isn’t serving us anymore. Perhaps you are familiar with suddenly feeling that your cup is empty. That there is nothing more left in the tank.
Suddenly you feel victimised and robbed of your own time. You become task focussed, have zero empathy and the tone of voice you use to get the kids into bed sounds more like than that of sergeant than the loving parent you know yourself to be.
Don’t ignore the anger
While it is tempting to commandeer while shaming and blaming – I knew I had myself to blame! I had allowed it! And I had ignored the signs of frustration building in me. As is easily done right now – when tending to our own needs feel like a luxury!
In these situations it’s good if we can catch ourselves and assume responsibility! The things we end up saying and doing when there’s nothing more in the tank – are rarely helpful.
But don’t ignore the anger!
Anger is there to move you to set a boundary. Take it as a cue that it’s is time to prioritise your own needs. Move forward the bed time the next night – and practice damage control in the here and now! Say less and do less when angry. Deep breaths.
Slowly does it – when it comes to bedtime. And set time aside to work out what needs to happen the next night in order for your own needs to be met too.
Creating a new normal in a global pandemic and lockdown is bound to confront us with new situations that we don’t know what we feel about. Until we’re in it.
And that’s okay.
And maybe this is an opportunity to practice being kinder to ourselves. Knowing that all around the world families are having similar struggles and challenges and that the point may not be to come out of this unaffected or wiser and stronger. But perhaps a litter softer and kinder.